Today it’s a holy Good Friday. Happy Easter to all! It was yesterday, two months ago, when I decided – after 14 years – to uninstall the Facebook application from my mobile phone. But I kept my account for some specific roles to fill: keeping in touch with my family and high school classmates, getting info from travel groups etc.
Having Facebook only available on my Desktop was a solution for me. There was no more scrolling on the phone when having a minute in quiet. It was really a hard decision, mainly because of the fear of missing out! Also, the fear that I’m not going to get any attention with whom I’m going to share my travel photos and more importantly my thoughts. But I had a strong motivation to take an action!
Seeing my Facebook memories back from time to time I realize, that I went through an evolution in my personal development. I was about to start my career when I signed up for Facebook in the year 2007. I just started working at a big international IT company but I wasn’t sure that I will ever be successful in that profession. Then I moved abroad to UK and in the first two years, I was doing low paid jobs where I particularly did not enjoy working. Those were a must to survive jobs. So until 2011, my posts were about sharing thoughts of a suffering victim like “an other day commuting to work, roll on weekend” or “wife is at work, having fun playing on my PS3 and drinking beer”. What did I expect? To someone comment on my posts like “Oh! Yes, poor you, how bad your life is!” Maybe. It was just a way of crying out for help.
After 2012, I got better-paid jobs and these victim posts got rarer, replaced by frequent weekend trips and sightseeing pictures. I started enjoying my life. So here it comes, money matters! Earning money allowed us to buy a car, we could afford to have a holiday once a year or just had long weekends in the country. This lifestyle made a big difference in how I feel. So between 2012 and 2017, Facebook was a platform for me to get feedback from my “friends”, I am doing good in my life. I expected after every post that people will comment “hey, you have an amazing life”. Of course, that never happened. However, 8 heart smilies on a picture gave me the same result. Deep inside I knew my life was far from perfect. But I lived the life what the society expected; owned a car, a house, got married, had a well-paid job and wanted this to be appreciated, somebody to be proud of me. Many people use Facebook for getting such feedback. I was the same.
At the end of 2017, I started my self-development journey and in 2018 I was on fire. I started sharing wise thoughts I was reading about. These were so motivating, a simple sentence was often oil on the fire. I started to understand that life is not just about what society expects from us. Rather going after our dreams, being brave to dream and do things out of the comfort zone. Until this year, I shared thoughts that popped up in my mind, quotes, motivational videos on my Facebook. I wanted to help others get inspired and motivated by sharing. But I had to pay a price. I got addicted to notifications, to get feedback from my friends about things I shared. Seeing love hearts on my posts triggered happy hormones resulting in often checking a post every two minutes. Some of my new friends on Facebook noticed me as a person who truly cares and a good listener. So few of them started to dump on me their daily problems and I turned into an emotional dumping ground for many. How strange! I was often aware of this but even the feeling of “needed” fired me and made me happy. The huge distraction was all the notifications from both Facebook and Messenger showed negative signs in my love relationship and in my professional life too. I had to change on this but I did not have any motivation. When my wife told me that I am always on the phone, I got aggressive and denied it like a proper drug addict.
Then in January, I read a new book by a Hungarian author where she briefly explained about how social media influence people and their lives. She too pointed out, what could our Facebook friends may feel on the other side when we always show our perfect states. Many people have anxiety or depression because they are stuck at a stage in their lives. They may feel more down and hopeless after seeing your happy moments in travel photos. I did not think about this before. Until this I thought, there are only a group of people who like you, feel interested about your life and the group of jealousy people who will hate you because you are having a better life than them. What about a third group who is interested what is going on in your life, likes you but your successful and happy life reminds them of their failures and unhappiness?! I decided that I will be more emphatic and think about these people. Especially in this time where many people are locked in and cannot travel. Kitti recommended in her book a Netflix film called Social Dilemma. After reading this book, I watched this film. This movie was truly shocking and finally, I had the motivation to uninstall Facebook from my phone. The next days were so quiet. No more notifications, no more brainless scrolling. At work, my productivity was over the top. In 2 days I progressed so much than sometimes in 2 weeks. But what to do with that 2-3 hours extra daily I got back not using Facebook?
My wife, Renata already started bullet journaling, pen paling. So I decided, I will join to this activity. It looked so relaxing seeing her writing into her journal and getting know new people through letters. What a great way of replacing the brainless activity of Facebook Newsfeed scrolling! Instead, I can craft, be creative without feeling anxious and distracted. I am reading a lot more than before! And here I am, writing a blog that I did not have time for before. I am feeling more balanced. I do not try fitting any more to the online world, where everybody looks happy and perfect. I am authentic, I am me, I am Zollie.
If on average I spent 3 hours daily on Facebook, that is 2 years from my life in 14 years! TWO YEARS ROBBED OR GIVEN AWAY VOLUNTARY?! Many people would just love to live one more day. Social Media like Facebook can shorten your life and you are not even aware of it. I still use Facebook but I use it as my online banking website. I do not suggest you completely remove your profile but limit how you can access it. On my laptop, I log in, check what I need to look for and log out – all done in just 1-2 minutes.
Please use these platforms carefully. If you feel anxiety, problems at your work and/or relationship because of these apps, time to uninstall them from your phone. Then you will get back into reality, to your own life.